Opinion – 6/6/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 6, 2003

"I Ain’t Joking…" by Jim Beaver

For additional opinions and articles,
pick up the 6/6/03  issue of The Panolian

Residents Bring About Miracle

Listening to the radio, watching the "liberal" television stations (networks), and reading the big city, again, "liberal" newspapers, one would think that there isn’t a decent soul left on earth. But there is. Panola countians proved that just recently.

Having lived here for just two years, I have already discovered that, but let me give you a prime example of down home goodness.

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A few months ago, during the war with Iraq, we heard that our troops were in desperate need for personal hygiene products. First of all, I couldn’t believe it, because it’s our troops. Americans. Why shouldn’t they have toothbrushes, toothpaste, sunscreen, razors, etc.? Our government spends money on all kinds of crazy things, including rebuilding other countries and feeding their homeless and hungry.

The staff at the newspaper desperately wanted to help, so we called Sgt. John Ard, at the Batesville armory. Guessing that we would be swamped with incoming supplies, he cautioned us with proceeding with the project.

Don’t proceed? No way. Our staff was determined.

We advertised a list of the supplies the troops needed, and the people of Panola County responded.

It didn’t matter if they were against the war or for it, the response was overwhelming.

The schools brought boxes of items in. Individuals brought in supplies and money. There was even a motel in town that donated several boxes of shampoo and soap. The stuff just piled up, filling our front office completely. Was Ard right?

Along with the supplies, several folks brought in cash and checks, which we planned to use for postage expense. (You would think our U.S. Postal Service would arrange for delivery…)

One problem arose that I had not planned on being a problem – getting the supplies from our office to Iraq and Turkey.

After weeks of searching through the pamphlets left by Sgt. Ard, and contacting the Red Cross and other governmental agencies, a literal miracle happened.

Along came SFC Dan Stewart, with the National Guard unit in Charleston.

He volunteered to organize his fellow non-commissioned officers, other enlisted men and women of Company C, 223rd Engineer Battalion, along with spouses of our local troops to package over a truckload of supplies and send them to our young men and women overseas.

In all, there were 20 boxes weighing 1,230 pounds. The postage was $498.00. And guess what, we had collected $494.00 in money. A coincidence? I don’t think so, and I ain’t jokin’ with you.

(Jim Beaver can be reached by email at: publisher@panolian.com